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First death attributed to Alaskapox virus
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Alaska has reported its first Alaskapox-related death. This virus, which was first identified in 2015, has become a major concern. An elderly man living in a remote part of the Kenai Peninsula succumbed to the disease in January after being hospitalized since November.

State health officials said the severity of the elderly man’s illness may have been exacerbated by anti-cancer treatment and drug-induced immunosuppression, given that the disease had previously been considered mild.

Alaskan health authorities had received only six reports of Alaskapox prior to this one.

All were from Fairbanks, and all had only mild symptoms, which did not require hospitalization.

Symptoms included rashes and swollen lymph nodes, as well as joint or muscle pain. The man from the Kenai Peninsula, on the other hand, suffered serious complications that led to his death. In particular, he suffered from delayed healing and malnutrition. He also suffered from acute renal failure and respiratory insufficiency.

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In the most recent case, a cat is suspected of having scratched the deceased. This led to the hypothesis that the scratches could have been a vector for spreading the virus. Despite multiple tests, the cat tested negative for Alaskapox. However, researchers want to determine whether the virus could have spread through contact with small animals in the environment, or through the pet’s activities.

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Alaskapox shows no signs of human-to-human transmission, and no cases have been reported outside Alaska.

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